Phoenix: Mark Pawuk event report

Pawuk Two-For Two In '02 CHANDLER, AZ 2/24/02 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk wasn't satisfied with the outcome of the CSK Nationals for his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am, but he knows his team is making progress. "The difference between this race and...

Pawuk Two-For Two In '02

CHANDLER, AZ 2/24/02 Mark "Cowboy" Pawuk wasn't satisfied with the outcome of the CSK Nationals for his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am, but he knows his team is making progress.

"The difference between this race and the Winternationals," he said following a first round loss to former NBA standout Tom Hammonds, "is that our car ran easier than it did in California, and our engine had a little more power. We're certainly not where we want to be, but we're getting there.

"We're also pleased about making the show again, because we know that as the year goes on, if you can keep qualifying, good things will happen. We had that string of DNQs late last season, and that really hurt us. We're determined to avoid that pitfall in 2002."

Unlike the Winternationals, where the Summit Racing/Matco Tools Pontiac bounced in and out of the field during qualifying, at Firebird Raceway the question was never in doubt.

"I agree with Mark about the car running easier," added crew chief Rob Downing. "Once we were certain we were going to stay in the show we started trying things to pick up our performance, and while we didn't make dramatic progress, we did learn some things. We ran our best elapsed time and speed in the first round, so it's apparent we're moving in the right direction.

"We've got a couple of weeks until the Gatornationals, so the plan is to head back to Ohio, give our engines a complete going over, and then, if there's time, do some testing before we head to Florida."

Pawuk remains just outside the NHRA POWERade Top 10, but feels confident they'll break in at the Gators.

"We've always done well in Florida," he says. "If we go a few rounds, the points will add up, and we'll be back in the Top 10.

"What helps our situation is that everyone in the class is beating up on one another, and nobody seems to have any real advantage. That works to our benefit, because as long as no one comes with an edge, the points race is wide open, even at this early stage of the season."

Results:

Qualifying:
Session #1 - - 6.930/199.37 #11 (6.959 Bump)
Session #2 - - 6.931/199.64 #14 (6.935 Bump)
Session #3 - - 6.914/199.55 #12 (6.933 Bump)
Session #4 - - 6.940/199.64 #13 (6.925 Bump)

Eliminations:
Round #1 .487 R.T. 6.907/199.82 lost to Tom Hammonds .480 R.T. 6.880/200.89

Next: NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals, Gainesville, Florida March 15-17th.

-pr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Tom Hammonds